Hike to Owl's Head Trail Overlook
Rate this Adventure Vermont › Owl's Head Trail, Groton State Forest
Added by Shannon Kalahan
A relatively easy hike, with two different approaches ending in stunning views of both Lake Groton and Kettle Pond, in Groton, Vermont.
Starting at 1746 ft of elevation, this easy 3 mile hike (RT) pays off with a dramatic view of Lake Groton, Kettle Pond and the Green Mountains of Vermont. The trail head begins in New Discovery Park, along the dirt road to Osmore Pond. There is room to pull off the dirt road and park near the trail head sign.
Ultimately, this trail only has about 200 ft of elevation change as it threads its way through some pretty New England forest. When the glaciers that covered the area 10,000 years ago retreated, a large mix of mountainous terrain, streams, ponds, bogs and wetlands were left behind. Therefore, like most of the trails in Groton State Forest, the hike to Owl’s Head passes through diverse terrain, including forest and swamp, eventually ending on open, moss-covered granite ledges. None of the terrain is particularly challenging, but the forest is home to many rare, threatened and endangered plants and wildlife which can be interesting to see.
The trail took us about an hour from New Discovery Park to the summit. Approximately 15 minutes from the top, you will reach a gravel parking lot and take a left to follow the trail. The stone steps in this section of the trail was built in the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, who were instrumental in developing the area for use. There is an alternate route to the parking lot and steps, via a gated gravel road from Rt 232. At the time I went, there was no sign, but it was directly across from Lanesboro Rd. The gravel road is a much shorter route – only about 0.2 miles (15-20 minutes) to reach the gravel lot and stone steps.
The top of the trail opens up to a small stone shelter and a view of Kettle Pond in the distance. While it is a striking view, it was not my favorite the morning we hiked it. Just to the left of the stone shelter, there is a little path that continues on through the woods along the granite shelf of the overlook. If you follow this path, it will lead you to a large clearing of granite and moss with a breath-taking view of Groton Lake and the valley below. If you intend to get there for early morning light, this is the spot where you can sit and take in the sunrise.
Although the elevation isn’t that high, it can get very windy and cold up on the overlook. We went in November, and the trail was already iced over in spots. Bring appropriate layers for the hike.
- snacks and water
- appropriate hiking shoes and layers
- camera and tripod
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